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Grateful Dead Live at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on 1983-06-18

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Grateful Dead Live at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on 1983-06-18

Publication date 1983-06-18 (check for other copies)
Topics Live concert
Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Bertha-> Jack Straw, Bird Song, Mexicali Blues-> Big River, Althea, Hell In A Bucket-> Deal Scarlet Begonias-> Fire On The Mountain, Playin' In The Band-> Drums-> The Wheel-> Playin' In The Band Reprise-> Morning Dew, Throwing Stones-> Not Fade Away-> Touch Of Gray, E:Don't Ease Me In-> E: One More Saturday Night


(Front Row Balcony) Sennheiser 441 -> PCM -> CD -> Dat


Reviewer: 2dose - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 24, 2012
Subject: If The Thunder Don't Get Ya
Like many of the reviewers have stated below this was one hell of a show to attend. I remember being told about this show from 2 heads that I went to school with at the time who were touring and seeing shows up and down the east coast. I was a freshman in college and had only seen 7 Dead shows before this one. I was on the bus by this time and these guys were talking to me about how great SPAC was going to be because the Dead never played there before and that tickets were going on sale the following week. The coversation got us all fired up to say the least and all I could think about afterwards was "I got get a ticket and catch this show no matter what."

By the time the tickets went on sale everyone in my crew came along for the ride. We had a convoy of 4 cars and 2 vans all the way up to Saratoga and by the time we got there early in the afternoon the place was packed, There were many alien life forms walking around despensing their mind bending elixirs. Everyone of us drank their Kool-Aid that day and it was just a beautiful summer day with many happy, smiling people all around the place.

I remember looking at the SPAC and the ramps leading into its balcony and thinking it was a big spaceship. Kind of like a Noah's Ark thing going on the whole time,2 of every possible freak you could think of walking up and down around the Mother Ship. We were all tripping our balls off by this time and we decided to stay on the lawn on the jerry side, right in front of the massive stack of speakers they had hanging from the balcony outer column. WE had fun watching all the freaks walking about. The whole place was happy and you sensed something good was going to happen.

The band came on stage and started playing Bertha and all the people on the lawn started dancing, swirling around us and leaping about. It was so beautiful to see. Words can't do it justice. Boy did we love watching all girls in sun dresses whirling around. Many have said it and I agree with them on how special the vibe was.Jack Straw came next and it set the tone for the rest of the set with the Jerry song and then aBobby song thing that they used to do alot back then.A great Bird Song and Althea followed. Jerry's guitar sounded so good and it seemed to be flowing from everywhere. Healy and the sound crew did a nice job that day. They even had stacks of speakers towards the back of the lawn and I remeber all the heads dancing around them like care free children. The set ended with Deal andthe whole place was singing along with Jerry "Don't You Let That DEAL!!! Go Down"

Sacrlet Begonias opened the 2nd set and the clouds were rolling in above us. Then after messing around a bit with some cool drums they launced into and epic Fire. Yes, there was lightning coming down above the SPAC during the set and you thought somehow the boys were commanding it.Phil's Bass felt like it was moving air to blow the clouds around. Playing came next and we felt the misty rain coming down but it felt good to us because it was a warm summer night. Drums and Space made its way into The Wheel and right on cue the lightning came down when they sang the verse with lightning in it "If The Thunder Don't Get Ya Then The LIGHTNING Will!!!" Many below have mentioned this and yes it sounds cheesy but you had to be there folks. It was like Jerry was in Disney's Fantasia.Garcia the sorcerer playing with the elements in the sky above us. Next came one of the best Morning Dew's I ever heard IMO and I vividly remember some older hippie chick with long blonde hair that was siting on a lawn chair screaming "C'mon People That's Jerry Garcia Down There. Let Him Know Your Here!!!" right before it. The whole place went nuts and Jerry must of felt it beacuse this DEW had so much feeling in it. Jerry sang it with so much passion. It still gives me the chills till this day when I listen to it and his guitar playing towards the end is so angelic.

The way it eneded it was expected being it was Saturday but the Don't Ease before it was strange at the time. Yet it didn't matter beacause everything before it was magical. I ended going to all the SPAC shows and this show still ranks as the best one they palyed there. It's a shame that there is no SBD of this show in circualtion. THis recording does capture the energy very well and I do think its the better source. I give this recording 4 stars and the performance 5 stars but all in all this show is definetly 5 stars in my book because of its energy and it's epicness. Download it and enjoy!
Reviewer: Psychedelicatessen - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 13, 2010
Subject: The Show That Did It For Me
What can I say that hasn't been said. The Dew was the greatest piece of music I've ever heard. Almost 27 years on and I'm still getting goosebumps. Scarlet/Fire under a canopy of trees, the mist and lightning creating a magic backdrop. This was the best Dead show I ever went to.
I went back to SPAC a few years back for a "Dead" show. Live Nation completely stripped the place of it's unique character.
Reviewer: pwpolk - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 26, 2010
Subject: Hometown show
I went to school in Saratoga so this was my hometown show. That night set a SPAC attendance record of something like 28,000. The town was just on the edge of not being able to accommodate it all and the next year when the show was announced, the Mayor of Saratoga was on the news saying that the "problem" the year before was it was on a weekend so it was crowded and this year it was on a tuesday or something so the crowds would not be as big......well, 40,231 shuffled in. A record that stands to this day.

The 83 show was off the hook. I'm as big a sound quality snob as the next guy but this show gets a pass. There are just no good recordings that came out of that tin can. BUT...The Scarlet jam is the scarlet jam you have always wished for without realizing it. The Dew is as big as it is billed to be. The band and crowd energy that night was as powerful as any of the 200 shows I went to. It was one of those nights that is now frozen in time. Get over the fact that the band sound like they are down the street and enjoy the roar of a crazed East Coast crowd.

I went to all 4 SPAC shows and I had my college graduation there in 86. As I walked across the stage to get my diploma I looked down...and I could swear there was still a smoking crater where Jerry played that Dew.
Reviewer: OneOfThoseFlashes - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 6, 2009
Subject: My Favorite Show
June 18, 1983 was an absolutely perfect day. The park in Saratoga was beautiful, the people were incredibly friendly, and the place was packed. The mood was ripe for a great show, but nobody expected what awaited us.

This show was about my 12th. I was definitely a fan by this point, but between the crowd, the chemistry, the weather, and the music, I walked out of that show with a potent addiction for more.

I since saw well over 150 more Dead concerts, but this was easily the best of them. I still feel sorry for the people inside the amphitheater, who didn't get to see the incredible lightning storm that cracked through the show, at times lighting up the evening sky as brightly as the afternoon sun. The lightning was especially intense during (no surprise) Fire on the Mountain, and it certainly seemed to be well synchronized with the music. Whether it was or not, I can recall the wonder and awe I felt as if I were still there.
Reviewer: jamiejoon - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 2, 2009
Subject: Yippeee!!!
Wow, if only I had a time machine. Wasn't at this show, but how totally awesome it would have been. SPAC was a wonderful place, and this was a champ of a show. Excellent Scarlet-Fire.

The audience recording is low and a tad bit remote, but I'd rather have a good aud than a sbd of this show, because it was such a trrific crowd. Can we go back?
Reviewer: trapper9 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 29, 2009
Subject: Maybe it's just the mood I'm in
But this is one darned fine Fire. It doesn't seem to want to end.
Reviewer: NewYorkBingo - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 28, 2009
Subject: Magical? It certainly was!!!!
Johza, I read your review and the similarities between your trip and mine. I went to Yugoslavia about 2-3 weeks after that show. I noticed the disco craze that was in all the bars we went to. I also stayed in Zagreb and took a side trip to Mali Losinj. It was still communist back then. It was a trip being a free Deadhead and talking with the people who were suppressed. That was a real eye opener.
All I can say about this show is MORNING changed my life, in a split second I was transformed forever.

I gave out a few Grateful Dead tapes to folks I met in Yugoslavia. I hope those folks enjoyed them. Who knows?
Reviewer: jozha - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 27, 2008
Subject: magical tour
i was doing a course in addirondacs campus
coming from the former jugoslavia way back in 1983 it was just as europe was falling in a disco mood of the 80'
we had two heads running our groups in the campus so they organised a few of us that wanted to go for the show
tim from long island a bass guitar player is the only name i can racall

we got some mescalin ice cream that worked so fine that i remember the concert as a breaktrough in my life
on my return to zagreb in what is now croatia i kept telling my friends that you ve not seen a show until you ve seen greatefull dead
this show was like a corner of light in this dark since then i have seen lots of concerts and also worked as a roady all around europe but this is the only show i have been that i remember as magic coming trough music and and straight into our sense
thanks for posting this
Reviewer: westchesterdead - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 26, 2008
Subject: A Monster Night
Of course, like the others attended this show, I can agree that it was a monster show. There were several reasons why.

Let’s start with the atmosphere of SPAC and the surrounding state park. It was just a beautiful day, and there were so many interesting things going on in the parking lot and the surrounding woods. I remember a huge drumming circle comprised of eighty people or so in a wooded area, complete with several jugglers – one juggler having a torch baton. It really was a circus. I also remember a ‘Space Trap’ that I stumbled across in the parking lot – these people had four boom boxes blaring in a semi circle, with four different dead tapes on, and each tape had a different version of Space playing – this trap stopped me dead in my tracks. The people who set it up would just sit there and laugh their asses off at folks like me who wandered into it, which of course had the desired effect of making me laugh my ass off as well. Another recollection (and of course, like many others, it was tainted by a hit of something that I came across in the parking lot, so perhaps this post needs to be taken with a grain of salt or three), was that there was water shooting out of every rock you could see….there were natural springs that had these wonderful fountains of water just bubbling away. I had one of those ‘lost all my friends’ moments and I wound up down by the river, watching many faces form in the ripples of the water. This was an incredibly special moment for me, and it set the mood for the rest of the evening (in fact, the calm that I experienced at that moment has been with me since, and has served me well during more stressful periods in my life). Of course, like everyone else, I found my friends again, and we all headed into the show.

Next, let me bore you a bit with the technical aspects of the sound system that the DEAD rigged up at SPAC (feel free to correct my shoddy recollection, too). In the case of SPAC, you had the stage area and the roofed audience area (if I recall, the balcony sat on top of a portion of the seated area that was under roof). On either side of the stage, the Dead had their fat assed stacks of Meyer Sound Lab speakers. Phil was about six months into playing his six string bass, and the Dead were using these big huge subwoofer boxes on each side of the stage, in addition to the standard speaker boxes that were sitting on either side of the stage, and also in addition to the wedges that were flown overhead those boxes, stage left and right. This made for a huge low end sound for Phil to drop his bombs, and they were plentiful that night. But wait – that’s not all – they threw a whole lot more in than a set of Ginzu Knives. Just outside of the roofed seating area, you had the lawn area. I happened to be in the lawn area. The Dead flew additional arrays on each of the support columns that housed the balcony, if I recall correctly. These arrays had about four or six wedges each, and right below each of these arrays were a stack of Amps (can’t recall the manufacturer – after all, this was 25 years ago, and I was just coming off a dose at that point). They also had a security dude by our column that kept his eye on the amps so they didn’t get trashed. This layout gave Healy the ability to do these amazing stereo sweeps of Jerry’s guitar – he could have Jerry’s leads fly from one end of the lawn area to the other, an incredibly long distance, with this amazingly large and loud clarity. This really was an impressive sound, and it blended just beautifully with the natural environment, especially during songs like The Wheel, and of course, Morning Dew, which was a monster Dew, mainly from Phil’s six string bombs. The dead really did it up nice that night.

Last, let’s talk about the performance and the vibe. The happiness vibe was infectious that night, and the Dead and the audience really got off on each other. For this reason, a lot of musical chances were taken that may not have been taken otherwise. From a playing point of view, the crowd provided a safe environment for the Dead to really explore – hence the strange drum timing in between Scarlet and Fire. Sure mistakes were made, but the level of excitement more than made up for them. It’s all here, even if the audience recording doesn’t perfectly capture the magnitude of the sound system, hence my 4 stars. I suggest that you download this immediately.

I would like to thank the wonderful folks who taped this show as well as the wonderful folks at Archive for doing such a wonderful service by allowing me to relive that night.
Reviewer: nepper - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 3, 2008
Subject: This was our launching pad.....
Ah, working on 25 years ago. What wonderful memories. This was really our group's first 'road trip'. We'd been seeing shows for a few years already but always in the Metro NYC area - being from northern NJ and all.

Then one day a month or two before this night a friend says, yeah the Dead's playin' in Saratoga. Someone says, "I ain't going to Florida" to see them. No man, SaraTOGA, in upstate NY. Well, the decision was made.

Five of us - 3 buddies and my girlfried (who's now my wife)- left Northern NJ the night before, on her birthday no less, around 11. We had absolutely no clue what we'd find when we got there, no place to stay and no idea where the venue was except that it was in Saratoga.

Two and a half hours later we pull off the Northway and somehow wind up driving around Saratoga Lake eventually finding our way to Rt 9 and onto the Avenue of the Pines - a really cool road with towering pine trees on either side that runs through the edges of the State Park.

We come to a traffic light, contemplating which way to go - left, right or straight - when suddenly the cosmic gods tap us on the shoulder....turn left.

"Why?" our driver says.

"Cause that guy walking towards us from the left is nude, man. This has gotta be the place"

A quick left, the pedestrian walkway between the lots is visible and then BAM! There it is in it's rust colored glory:


Let the games begin. Needless to say the next 48 hours were a watershed event. It was our Woodstock. It was truly the beginning of an trek we're still taking today.

June 17 and 18, 1983, for us, has never been about the music - as beautiful as it was. It was about the journey. A youthful expression of life, love, friendship and happiness. Pure laughter and joy encapsulated around a magical circus called The Grateful Dead we were lucky enough to find.

Truly the best of times.
Reviewer: Zaorish - favoritefavoritefavorite - August 6, 2007
Subject: Really Bad Sound Quality
Hurts my ears to listen, Shannon.

The Dew is nice though.
Reviewer: missthetrip - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 6, 2007
Subject: saratoga springs 83
I was at this show It was a magic show Trully ahigh point of my life The people were so cool The place was natural The staff was a little heavy but that didnt effect the show The band was together with the crowd a shared experince beautiful
Reviewer: Albix - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 10, 2007
Subject: Grab this one...
Excellent sounding AUD and a classic show to boot! Thanks to the Jeff Silberman, CM and!
Reviewer: EdgeHead - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 10, 2007
Subject: weir cracks me up
just listening to this at work (man i love this site) and jamming out to the S/F...listen to weir sing FIRE! early in the middle chorus...he realizes his mistake, so what does he do? He does it again! Classic.
Reviewer: Brooklyn Peach - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 28, 2007
Subject: Hottest show ever!
This was, bar none, the hottest show I have ever been to. A hot summers night at an amazing venue, people dancing everywhere, the hottest, most perfect 2nd set ever, Scarlet Fire reflecting the night's energy, and then to cool it off, Morning Dew, during which, after the song started, a heavy mist fell and then stopped when the song ended. And afterwards, heaven. An amazing property, with trees and a small brook, and all these Deadheads running around in the dark laughing and playing like little kids...I was amazed and thankful that no one came and told us to stop having fun and go. All around the best Dead show I ever went to. Thanks a lot, from my heart!
Reviewer: tpenn - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 28, 2006
Subject: The best Jerry, the best !!!
This was my first Dew and by far the best I ever heard. That includes every tape I ever listened to. The whole show is top notch. Bob even gets a gold star for his solo act just before drums. We had so much fun at this show we lost our car and it took us two hours to find it, but that's a whole other story.
Reviewer: lcj72835 - favoritefavoritefavorite - January 21, 2006
Subject: 1st show at Saratoga
I also sat front row balcony. This is a very nice recording...better than the other audience on this site which is also good...and much better than what i listened to for years... perhaps because there were not many people in the balcony at this show, the local crowd noise is minimized. I was surprised there were so many empty seats upstairs because the sound was terrific. Great opening to 2nd set...morning dew know the drill. The show nose dived playingwise toward the end unfortunately. The encores were an embarassment. 3 stars but 5 for sound quality.
Reviewer: hotshakedown - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 15, 2006
Subject: what a day---night
this show was unforgetable; 7 of us truckin' up in the van from NJ with all sorts of sundry items enroute...arrived in Toga by noon- parked in the Handicapped lot. by mid afternoon my chemically altered state prevented me from playing frisbee although the trails were phenomenal--spent most of the day under an enourmous tree watching the circus unfold; droped another at about 7 and the night seemed last a week! geat show all was tight! second set very memorable.
Reviewer: Deadhead 90 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 31, 2005
Subject: Reply to Weazel
Man I'm a saratoga native too and in fact this is was the biggest concert in SPAC history. Thats the stand alone reason why Spac only allows 25,000 people nowadays, Because this concert was overwhelming and had 40,000 fans including both my uncles, two cousins, my parents, and a young me who snuck out to get on the lawn. Great shoe, great memories.
Reviewer: roosteriver - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 23, 2005
Subject: This was magic
Blessings to the one who uploaded this one!
Reviewer: theweazle - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 22, 2005
Subject: wow
I was almost 12 when this guy I scored my buds from took me and a couple of buddies to this show. I can't say i remenber it happening too clearly but it was my 1st. I ended up going to 30+ before the end. Saratoga is my home town and let me tell ya.. absolutley amazing venue, nothing compares. I would like to address beuler080 in the previous comments though even though we would like to think so- the Dead doesn't even come close to the atendance record a SPAC. Sorry. I am very grateful to get this in my collection after all these years. It is all coming back to me now phenominal energy. I can only recall energy like this at Copps in '92.
Reviewer: dyerwolf - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 17, 2005
Subject: WOW
This had to be one of the best times ive ever had a show!!! The Scarlet/Fire blew me away and still does every time i listen to it... The lightning was awesome, the Dew was fantastic... I was 20 and had seen about 30 shows by then, this was by far the best... 200 shows later i have a hard time coming up w/a better one.
Reviewer: mklsgl - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 1, 2005
Subject: "just exactly perfect"
Well, maybe not perfect but then again "perfection is a fault and fault lines change."
Never heard anything like the percussion in Scarlet->Fire before or after. Tribal beats. Sinister rhythm.
Reviewer: casisbelly - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 25, 2005
Subject: DEW ME !!
Yeah right! That's all I get from fans who were not there to see the lightning during WHEEL. To see Jerry nearly bust a gut during DEW. And to witness the most unique and impressive SCARLET-FIRE jams ever heard. What a venue. And for more than 20,000 heads they gave us a night to remember for the rest of our lives. This is my favorite show of all time. I hate to say you had to be there,but being from Boston, we made it to every N.Y show we could. This just happens to be the clincher. Definately a day and a night I will never forget. Who else could get 20,000 people to smile at the same time. Thanks
Reviewer: beuler080 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 16, 2005
Subject: Spac
The Grateful Dead still holds the record for most people to come to a show at spac. im only 16 now and i live in the wonderful saratoga springs, so i still see the dead come every year. It is not the same without jerry but its still a party. Its fun to watch the old men with their children taking whip-its from the natural spring in the park, their kids saying stuff like, "when is it my turn daddy." This is a good recording though. Not to much crowd noise.
Reviewer: Rich66 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 16, 2005
Subject: Niave Place
This place never experienced a band like the GD everyone was polite, until the 2 nd when all the old lady ushers were pushed aside.
Reviewer: Trannyman - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 3, 2005
Subject: The great SPAC
The only question is, which SPAC show was the best? (83, 84 or 85). 3 of the best shows ever. (88 was kinda of a dud by comparison). My personal fav is 84, but it just depends on which one I haven't heard lately.

Recording here is good, for a SPAC audience.
Reviewer: shakespeare - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 30, 2004
Subject: One for the History Books
15 yrs old and dosed for the 3rd time in my life. Still get chills when hearing this one. Second set is beyond description (huh, where have I heard that in a song?). Scarlet>Fire>Playin>Jam took the entire joint for a rondevous of the cosmos brushing up against Heaven and Hell. Thunder & Lightening from space through Wheel confirms ronevous with Heaven . . . entire post Space is utterly insane. The Mighty DEW is . . . I literally have no words for it . . . Jerry simply unleashed himself beyond any belief. I am convinced the Boys kept on playing because they simply did not know how to stop . . . the muse had them by the proverbial balls. when asked the next day how the show was by my older brother (and at the time a much more seasoned head) I couldn't form words -- just chuckled and said, "uh . . . good." a must have, even if sloppy at times, the energy makes up for it ten fold. If I could transport myself back in time . . . this would be the show I would revisit. Not sure it even happened, but given the other reviews, I beginning to think it all actually did happen and I was there tossing in my ever budding energy. Whew boy, never had such a good time in my life befo. . . Peace, Billy Shakespeare
Reviewer: 20Hz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 28, 2004
Subject: Get the PCM!
Please put your headphones on and listen to this Scarlet>Fire. This has to be one of the most powerful events to ever occur at a Dead show. This set was recorded by Jeff Silberman. He was the only person in the building recording digitally which allowed him to capture the extra long second set UNCUT. He did not record the first set as he was fighting the elements. Even Healys master tapes were cut due to the length of the 2nd set. Perhaps this is why there is no soundboard in circulation??? Regardless, this is the one to download if you want the complete set. You can get Jims first set if you like the sound better, but I think both are nearly identical. Both are 441s from the balcony, one is digital, the other analog. JY
Reviewer: sheikyerbouti - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 18, 2004
Subject: wild show and impossible to feel from the tape the zaniness
we hitched from boston for this with 1000 hits of blotter and almost got pinched by a statey so when we got there friday night there were prob 100 people camped in the parking lot but when we woke up sat the parking lot was filling and people were everywhere doing these whippets from the radioactive gas coming out of the ground and saratoga had no idea how to deal with this onslaught of humanity that barreled into town for this - the hells angels were driving their bikes around inside the show people were dancing everywhere and they finally just opened the gates for everyone - great 1st set scarlet>fire>playin long and very trippy - powerful back end of the show in particular m'dew which was one of the best they ever played and got the crowd out of their tripped out stupor... musically merriweather was the better of the two but vibewise no way to top the millions of fireflies in the trees and beautiful early summer night - really really hot show.... suffice it to say we left with about a dozen doses the crowd got the rest and think the band may have gotten a wee bit too.... the dead were staying in town at this hotel we all went back to and we had an impromptu bongo chant to get jerry et al out (didnt work)this was how psyched we were and did not want the night to end...
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Uploaded by
Jonathan Aizen
on 6/22/2004
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